What Are The Causes Of Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is weakening of the heart muscle, when the heart is unable to pump blood effectively.  The most common type is called dilated cardiomyopathy and is discussed later. Although the exact causes of this heart disease is unknown, multiple factors can contribute to this condition. Some of the causes are listed below:

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Previous heart attack causing tissue damage.

Congenital heart disease

Chronic high blood pressure

Nutritional deficiencies (such as thiamine, potassium, magnesium)

Long term alcohol abuse

Disorders such as diabetes or thyroid disease

Problems related to the heart valve

Long term abuse of cocaine or anti-depressant drugs

Certain infections cause by virus, bacteria or other microorganisms may cause inflammation of the heart muscle leading to damage

Drugs used in chemotherapy


Disorders like hemochromatosis, in which inability to metabolize iron properly leads to its accumulation in various organs, including the heart muscle, which in turn causes its weakening

There are three main types of cardiomyopathy, dilated, hypertrophic and restrictive, out of which the first one is the most prevalent. In dilated cardiomyopathy, the left ventricle (chamber of the heart that pumps blood to the rest of the body) becomes enlarged and it unable to pump blood forcefully this condition is found in middle aged men, many with an existing family history of this condition. In most cases this condition is caused by a previous heart attack, inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) or due to alcohol abuse.

Symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy may include shortness of breath, pale skin color, rapid heart rate or breathing rate, chest pain, fatigue, poor appetite and irritability. If extensive, it could lead to a potential heart failure. Although drugs are used to treat this condition, heart transplantation might be the most effective choice of treatment.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is due to abnormal thickening or growth of the heart muscle. The heart chambers are thus reduced in size and that affects its pumping ability. Some genetic mutations have been known to cause this condition, and might become apparent as early as in childhood. Although, many persons suffering from this condition might not show any symptoms, some might experience breathlessness, chest pain and fatigue.

Restrictive cardiomyopathy is known to occur mainly in older people. In this condition the heart muscle loses its elasticity and it is not able to expand and contract as required. Although the reason for this condition is not clear, it has been linked with certain diseases. The main symptoms for this condition are weakness, fatigue, breathlessness and poor appetite.

****** Recommended: Are you preparing for or recovering from heart valve surgery? Read Patient’s Guide To Heart Valve Surgery

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